Washington State Opportunity Scholarship Executive Director

Seattle, Washington, United States Full-time

Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) is seeking a strategic and dynamic leader to be its next Executive Director


  • Posting Date: May 6, 2019
  • Applications submitted by May 27 at 5:00 pm (PST) will be given full consideration
  • Interviewing will begin in late May; early applications are strongly encouraged.
  • Salary range is $155,000 – $195,000, DOE


The successful candidate will have the opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of under-resourced and underrepresented students in Washington state by helping them access the education and skills they need to secure top jobs in high-demand fields that fuel Washington’s thriving economy.

This leader will work with a committed and dedicated staff of 20 as well as an influential Board of Directors to provide thousands of students with financial awards, student support services, and industry and professional mentoring so they can graduate from college and successfully launch their careers.

The next Executive Director has the potential to be a thought leader nationally as WSOS shares its learnings about this unique and effective public-private partnership which is the first of its kind in the nation. 

We are looking for a leader who is innovative, solution-centric, action-oriented and data-driven. They must be a collaborative and adaptable team leader who holds equity as a core value in everything they do.


About Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

The mission of Washington State Opportunity Scholarship is to build pathways into high demand Washington careers for Washington students

Washington has one of the fastest growing state economies in the nation, with more STEM and health care jobs than we can fill. The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship was created in 2011 to address workforce gaps in the high-demand sectors that drive our economy like aerospace, engineering, technology and health care. WSOS aims to connect our state’s leading employers with top Washington talent by reducing barriers to education and training and by facilitating entry into high-demand careers. With the generous support and engagement of private donors – matched dollar for dollar by the state of Washington – WSOS prepares and launches low- and middle-income Washington students into the careers that drive our state economy.

WSOS recognizes that not everyone in Washington has the same opportunity to go to college, and we are passionate about reducing barriers for Scholars from diverse backgrounds. In the most recently awarded cohort of students, 61% of Scholars are women, 65% are first-generation college students, and 64% are students of color. To ensure their success, WSOS couples financial support with an essential year-to-year student support system and critical professional mentorship including summer internships, research opportunities, and more.  To date, over 3,300 of our Scholars have graduated with a bachelor’s degree and nearly all (94%) are employed or in graduate school within 9 months of graduation. WSOS is launching Scholars into the industries that drive the Washington economy, and we are doing so by closing the achievement gap in STEM fields across gender, race and ethnicity. We support Scholars from every county and legislative district in Washington since our state’s workforce challenge requires solutions that meet local needs.

WSOS is on track to serve 16,000 Scholars by 2025.

Driven by our commitment to be a win-win-win for students, employers, and Washington state taxpayers, to-date WSOS has raised nearly $200 million through private contributions and the state match. Industry leaders, including founding partners Boeing and Microsoft, help power our Board because they recognize the need to bolster a pipeline of local talent to fill our state’s job needs. Our legislative success is due to the bi-partisan support WSOS has received for our outcomes and the progress we’ve made toward our goals.

Organizational Snapshot

WSOS currently has an annual operating budget of $3 million and supports a scholarship budget of $24 million annually.  The 11 member Governor-appointed Board of Directors meets quarterly. There is a staff of 20 FTE working in Scholar Services (financial awards, student support services and mentoring, career support services and mentoring, and data reporting) and Capacity Building (development, communications, and operations). WSOS works together with its partner and program administrator Washington STEM, which provides HR, IT, and financial services for WSOS.

The main WSOS office is located in Seattle’s Mt. Baker neighborhood; some staff work out of a Spokane site. The work-place culture at WSOS is fast-paced, innovative, solutions-centric and equity-focused. All are encouraged to think creatively, voice their opinions, try new things, fail quickly, evaluate, iterate, and try again.


Executive Director Opportunities and Responsibilities

Working closely with the WSOS Board of Directors, the Executive Director generates support, raises awareness, and guides implementation of the vision for the WSOS program.  The Executive Director oversees a staff of 20, including 4 direct reports, and plays a leading role in establishing strong relationships with corporations, government, major donors, private grant makers, and partner organizations.  Key responsibilities include:

Strategic Leadership: Design and implement a long-term strategic vision for the organization in collaboration with the Board, including goals and outcome metrics. Provide sound fiscal and administrative oversight of the entire organization. 

Development: Lead the development team in creating and executing fundraising strategy. Together with the Board, cultivate relationships with corporations, foundations, and individuals and solicit their support for WSOS.

Advocacy and Communications: Serve as the chief spokesperson and evangelist for WSOS. Support the work of the Board, consultants, strategists and lobbyists in meeting advocacy and funding goals.

Staff Development: Recruit, develop, motivate, and retain top talent by supporting a workplace culture that values innovation and inclusion. Work to harness the rapid staff growth of the past 2 years by putting systems in place that serve a larger and more mature organization.

Program Delivery: Ensure effective scholarship administration and support services program delivery and design, including successful implementation of the new Career & Technical scholarship. Direct the successful maintenance, evaluation and continuous improvement of the baccalaureate scholarship and Scholar Lead near-peer and Skills that Shine industry mentorship programs.


The Ideal Candidate

WSOS seeks candidates who are passionate about moving under-resourced students into college and thriving careers. More than any one particular area of content expertise, WSOS is looking for a talented and strategic leader who can drive a clear vision in a rapidly changing environment. The WSOS Board and stakeholders are a dynamic group of corporate and public-sector leaders, requiring an ED with intellectual confidence, maturity, thick skin and expert diplomacy. This leader must be adept at creating and executing strategies to enhance impact, with a proven ability to identify innovative opportunities, take risks, and adjust course as needed. They must be committed to promoting social justice and racial equity, and lead with equity at the core of their outlook and vision.

Our next Executive Director should be:

  • A compelling communicator with diverse audiences, equally comfortable speaking to business and political leaders as well as with students from all backgrounds
  • Data-driven in decision making and goal-setting
  • An experienced and skilled team leader, with a commitment to working collaboratively and developing and motivating others
  • Someone with a growth mindset who regularly seeks feedback and coaching from others
  • Flexible and able to adapt as situations change, demonstrating grace under pressure
  • Able to skillfully manage within a complex public-private governance structure
  • Fearless about advocating for and seeking support on behalf of Washington’s students

The successful candidate will be an accomplished leader from the nonprofit, business, education, or government sectors. An understanding of nonprofit management, including the role of a nonprofit Board and fundraising strategy, will be useful. WSOS serves all of Washington state, so familiarity with its different communities’ challenges and opportunities is helpful.  Specific background in higher education in the state of Washington, the Washington state legislature, and the intricacies of public-private partnerships are all beneficial. People who have personal experience as a first-generation, under-resourced, or underrepresented student like the majority of those WSOS serves are especially encouraged to apply.


Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time exempt salaried position requiring a willingness to work some evenings and weekends and occasional travel throughout the state of Washington. The expected base salary range is between $155,000-$195,000 depending on qualifications and experience.   In addition, an annual performance bonus of up to 10% of salary is offered, based upon achievement of agreed upon organizational and individual performance goals. 

Employees are eligible for a comprehensive benefits package including generous PTO and holidays, health insurance including medical, dental, and vision, and access to an employer-matched 401k retirement benefit. 


Commitment to Equity

We seek to use an equity lens in all aspects of our work empowering under-resourced Scholars to access their own agency. WSOS recognizes that socio-economic burdens and benefits are not distributed equitably and that systematic barriers of intolerance, discrimination and social injustice are deeply rooted in history and impact our state’s underrepresented communities. We challenge ourselves to dismantle these barriers. We strongly encourage applications from people of color and other historically underrepresented and marginalized groups.


How to Apply

Online applications only, please no email or paper submissions.  You will be asked to upload a cover letter and resume. In your cover letter, please describe as specifically as you can how your experience, skills, and values are a fit with WSOS’ goals, mission, and ideal candidate characteristics as described in this announcement.

Applications received by May 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm will be given full consideration; early applications are strongly encouraged!  All applications will be acknowledged via an email receipt and will be held confidentially within the search committee. Consideration will be given to applications as soon as they are received; phone and in-person interviewing will begin in late May, 2019.  Candidates invited to move forward after a phone screen will be asked to submit an equity statement.


The search for this position is being facilitated by the team at Clover Search Works, a firm that provides a full range of search services to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Clover Search Works is honored to partner with Washington State Opportunity Scholarship in the search for a new leader to carry out their important mission of building pathways into high-demand Washington careers for Washington’s students.

Questions regarding this opportunity are welcomed and can be directed to Emily Anthony of Clover Search Works.  Email: emily@cloversearchworks.com | Phone: 206-355-9132